Leicester City should revisit their interest in Fenerbahce defender Attila Szalai this summer as Brendan Rodgers looks to bolster his first-team squad.
What’s the story?
The 23-year-old only moved to the Turkish giants in January but emerged as a potential target for the Foxes back in April, according to Hungarian outlet Blikk.
Szalai made 22 appearances for Fener last season, catching the eye of several sides thanks to his dominant displays.
Imagine him and Fofana
Brendan Rodgers is reportedly in the market for a new centre-back after the experienced duo of Wes Morgan and Christian Fuchs departed the King Power Stadium.
The former Liverpool and Celtic boss switched between a back four and a back five in 2020/21 depending on the opposition last season, with Wesley Fofana, Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans the first-choice picks at centre-half.
However, all three picked up lengthy injurie at various points throughout the campaign, forcing Rodgers to play the likes of Daniel Amartey, Timothy Castagne and James Justin out of position to plug the gaps.
A new man is, therefore, required by the current FA Cup holders ahead of the new season if they’re going to stand any chance of fighting on multiple fronts.
Qualifying for the Europa League brings large amounts of opportunities and issues for a club like Leicester, where a lack of squad depth can cruelly undermine efforts.
In Szalai, director of football Jon Rudkin could solve a multitude of Leicester’s defensive issues in a single signing.
The Hungary international is a versatile talent, often playing in a back three or back four at previous club Apollon Limasso in Cyprus, meaning adapting to Rodgers’ changing styles should pose few problems.
Another attractive attribute of the youngster is his size. At 6 ft 4, Szalai should be able to cope with the physical demands of the Premier League with ease, and his 21 Super League outings last season produced three goals, highlighting his aerial threat from set-pieces.
Left-footed centre-backs are a rare commodity and at Leicester, none of their options are naturally comfortable away from their preferred right-hand side.
Evans is comfortable using both feet, but Szalai makes good use of his stronger left foot, often playing passes out from the back or dribbling his way upfield in search of a teammate.
His size and skillset, therefore, make him the perfect partner for the highly-rated Fofana. The right-footed, slim-built Frenchman would benefit from a more powerful companion, and that duo could form the base of Leicester’s defence for years to come if the Foxes can bring Szalai into the club.